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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Harvey: "The exciting day arrived and we [as under age school boys] snuck into the [pub's] rehearsal room, sat awkwardly to attention on hard chairs in a row facing the band and heard our first - very loud - live jazz. What an occasion that was - we even drank beer because we understood that's what jazz people did and that's what the band were drinking." - (Just Jazz June 2020)

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Big Score - Jazz on the screen

There are few great Jazz movies - but there are many movies made great by jazz. So quoted Jazz Journalist Steve Voce and this is the basis of what music historian Chris Phipps guided us through this evening.
The room was full and I doubt if anyone left without getting something out of it. Personally, I'd seen many of the movies without the soundtracks impacting upon me (The Man with the Golden Arm being a notable exception). This, I guess, is to the composer/arrangers credit. If the music made such an impact it would detract from the action. The excerpts played certainly made me want to check out the films again.
Chris Phipps spoke about them with both perception and humour but, we only had an hour of what could have been a ten week course!
Also it would have been good to have had actual film clips to go with the music - as in the clip from Payroll which was actually filmed in Newcastle. Instead we had graphic images which, effective initially, paled as the music played. Phipps, fortunately, made up for this with his description of the action and added to it with his often amusing and relevant comments.
Films referred to included The Wild Ones; A Streetcar Named Desire; Bullitt; The Sweet Smell of Success; Anatomy of a Murder (not played!); Payroll; Get Carter; Man With a Golden Arm; Johnny Cool; TV series such as The Avengers; M:Squad; Johnny Staccato.
The most amazing thing was that many of the composers weren't jazz people at all! (Q a notable exception) They just turned up with their pen and manuscript and wrote the soundtrack - often in the face of opposition from the film's directors.
Hollywood and jazz were odd bedfellows but, when the chemistry's right, it's a marriage that has lasted until, and as recently as, Whiplash!
A sequel could well include those many actual on screen moments by the greats.
An enjoyable hour.  
Lance

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